During a special meeting, the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) Board of Education approved Noreen Bush, as Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2020. The appointment comes with a three-year contract. Based on what can be surmised from historical records, this will make Bush the first female superintendent in the school district’s history and the first internal hire for this position.
“Noreen is a visionary, a collaborator, an authentic and dynamic bridge-builder, acts with integrity and fairness, and is deeply invested in the success of all our students,” said Board President Nancy Humbles. “She is precisely what our students and staff, our district, and our community need in the next Superintendent.”
Bush served as Associate Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of CRCSD in the two years prior to being appointed Interim Superintendent in 2019 and was deeply engaged in designing a new vision and strategic plan as a facilitator and thought partner for the district beginning in 2015.
“Since her early days with us in 2015 and her work on our Theory of Action, she proactively engaged PTA groups, educators, community leaders, parents, and community groups to develop a shared vision for our schools,” said Humbles. “Noreen’s capacity to promote shared leadership in advancing our vision and the strategies emphasized in our strategic plan was a primary factor in this decision.”
The Board of Directors also points to significant improvements in academic results as evidenced by measures such as Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST) scores, Performance Profile Results, and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) results as a compelling factor which drove the Board’s decision. “These results are powerful indicators that we are, indeed, moving in the right direction,” said Humbles. “And it’s critical that we maintain that momentum with a leader who so acutely understands – and so profoundly believes in – our strategic plan. She also has all the leadership skills that are critical to ensuring we move closer to our vision becoming reality.”
Bush has also developed strong partnerships and collaborative relationships with community leaders to advance the mission of CRCSD. “Noreen’s leadership and encouragement have helped us review current and future opportunities to best serve students and members of the Cedar Rapids community,” said City Manager Jeff Pomeranz.
Under Bush’s leadership, progress will continue on a bold and innovative five-year strategic plan, supported by the CRCSD Board of Directors, which has led to a number of noticeable initiatives including the development of a diversity hiring and recruitment plan, a robust digital literacy plan, and an investment in innovative learning opportunities with a focus on equity and access for all students.
“The plan had certainly been to consider a more traditional superintendent search or hiring plan,” said Humbles. “But it became unquestionably clear to us that Noreen Bush is precisely the right superintendent for our district at this time. How lucky are we that she is already here? And the fact that she’s also a product of our school district is icing on the cake.”
Bush moved from Detroit to Cedar Rapids in her youth and is the youngest of seven children. She attended Cedar Rapids’ Fillmore Elementary School, Wilson Junior High School, and graduated from Jefferson High School. She received her MSE in Educational Leadership from Drake University and most recently completed her Ed.D coursework through Drake University. She will complete her dissertation in the coming year.
“The offer to serve the students, staff, and families of our great district is one I am deeply honored to accept,” said Bush. “There is so much we can celebrate, thanks to the work of our staff in collaboration with our families, and there is so much work yet to be done. It will be an honor and joy to steward this work as Superintendent of Schools.”
Photo gallery of Superintendent Bush.